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Padua and the Tudors

Padua and the Tudors: English Students in Italy, 1485-1603

  • Book Info
    Padua and the Tudors
    Book Description:

    Italy's University of Padua attracted a notable body of students from Renaissance England.Woolfson looks at the reasons so many Englishmen went to Padua and the various ways in which their studies impacted on Tudor life and thought.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7821-7
    Subjects: History, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-9)

    The university of Padua was one of Europe’s great centres of learning in the pre-modern period. Located in northeast Italy about twenty miles from Venice, the Paduanstudiumwas officially founded in 1222 as a result of a student migration from the university of Bologna. In the course of the following century it came to be recognized as a ‘universitas scholarium,’ that is, as a self-governing, legal corporation of scholars, protected by Padua’s civic authorities. From 1260 its statutes were codified, and from 1264 its chancellor, who was always the bishop of Padua, conferred academic degrees by the pope’s sanction.


  6. 1 The English Nation at Padua
    (pp. 10-38)

    Padua was ‘an universitie famous for lawe and phisicke, frequented by all nations, who have a consul whom they change each yeare, during which time those of the same nation are obliged to obey.’ Thus wrote an anonymous English observer at the end of the sixteenth century.¹ The English nation was one of the twenty or so primary components of Padua’s university of law, and enjoyed a continuous institutional life from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries.² (There was no English nation in the university of arts and medicine.) The ‘natio Anglica’ was never one of the larger nations, and...

  7. 2 Students of Law
    (pp. 39-72)

    The examples of participation in the law university described in chapter 1 elucidate an aspect of Paduan university life from a particular national perspective. They are also, however, suggestive for that area of English intellectual history which has been grappling for decades with the difficult relationship between English humanism and political action.

    The problematic directions into which the historiography had strayed were revealed in two important essays by Alastair Fox in 1986.¹ Fox showed how differences between the intellectual outlooks of English humanists had been obscured, and men who were not humanists at all had been included in their number,...

  8. 3 Students of Medicine and Natural Philosophy
    (pp. 73-102)

    When John Chamber left Oxford in 1503 to study medicine in Padua, the anonymous registrar of Merton College noted that Padua was ‘a most famous university for all humane studies,’ and that Chamber was going there to devote himself to the works of ‘Avicenna, Galen, and other physicians.’¹ For much of the following century Paduan medicine and natural philosophy would exert a profound influence on English humanist studies and Aristotelianism.

    This influence has been recognized only in the most fragmentary of ways. Despite the examples of Thomas Linacre, John Caius, and William Harvey, academic medicine tends to be consigned to...

  9. 4 Humanists
    (pp. 103-118)

    Chapter 3 has suggested ways in which the medical humanism and humanistic natural philosophy of the Paduanstudiuminfluenced English intellectual life and medical practice. But the English humanism which emerged from Padua was more broadly based than this alone suggests. From the 1490s to the 1530s, a significant number of Englishmen pursued interests within this wider dimension, and their intellectual and social activity is given a particular coherence by the centrality in English circles of Niccolò Leonico Tomeo, whose letter collection documents the nature of their milieu.

    For its size and range of correspondents, this collection—MS Rossiano 997...

  10. 5 Exiles, Tourists, and Intelligencers
    (pp. 119-135)

    Even before the Marian exile, Padua functioned as a place of refuge. In the case of Reginald Pole, Italy was to become the focus of an alternative set of values, beliefs, and ways of living, but the immediate circumstances of his arrival there in 1521 suggest that the city was a convenient respite from an angry king. For his visit to Padua, as for the whole of his previous education, Pole was dependent on the benevolence of Henry VIII, but from 1518 his family encountered problems in their relationship with their royal cousin. In this year Wolsey began to raise...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 136-140)

    The university and city of Padua had a remarkable impact on England’s culture in the Tudor period. Padua influenced a range of extraordinary English cultural, intellectual, and institutional developments, some of them more sustained than others, some of them fairly self-evident in sources such as letters, and others only visible through the collective biographies of a particular group of individuals, or through the teasing out of meaning from particular texts. Any study of something as intangible as the cultural and intellectual relations between two countries must manage several complex issues: how to detect and describe the sometimes unknown ways in...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 141-204)
  13. Appendix: Biographical Register of English Visitors to Padua, 1485–1603
    (pp. 205-290)
  14. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 291-306)
  15. Index
    (pp. 307-322)